Saint Brigid Religious Education
100 Mayflower Street
West Hartford, CT 06110

The Beatitudes

Jesus gave us the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount, which we can read in the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus offers us a way of life that promises eternity in the Kingdom of Heaven.

The teachings of Christ were simple but unique and innovative at the time of his life on earth. He began teaching about 30 AD in the time of the ruthless Roman occupation of Palestine.

The Ten Commandments, given to Moses on Mount Sinai in the Old Testament Book of Exodus, gives us a series of "Thou shalt nots," that we must avoid in daily life on earth.

In contrast, the message of Jesus was one of humility, charity, and brotherly love. He taught transformation of the inner person. Jesus presents the Beatitudes in a positive sense, virtues in life which will ultimately lead to reward. Love becomes the motivation for the Christian. All of the Beatitudes promise us salvation - not in this world, but in the next. The Beatitudes initiate one of the main themes of Matthew's Gospel, that the Kingdom so long awaited in the Old Testament is not of this world, but of the next, the Kingdom of Heaven.

Saint Augustine called the Beatitudes the ideal for every Christian life! Following the Beatitudes means making the choice to put God before everything else. What do the Beatitudes mean for us today?

Here are Jesus' teachings on true happiness as they might be understood by people today.

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Depend on God. Don't let material things get in the way of loving God and others. "Poor in     spirit" means to be humble. Humility is the realization that all your gifts and blessings come from the grace of God. This means we should be completely empty and open to the Word of God. When we are an empty cup and devoid of pride, we are humble. Humility brings an openness and an inner peace, allowing one to do the will of God.

  • Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Share other people's sorrows and joys. Don't set yourself apart from others. If we are humble and appreciate that all of our gifts and blessings come from God, we grow in love and gratitude for Jesus Christ our Savior. But this can only produce mourning and regret over our own sins and the sins of this world, for we have hurt the one who has been so good to us.

  • Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

Learn to be gentle with people and things. Don't try to get your way by using violence or by bullying others. A humble person becomes meek, or becomes gentle and kind, even in the face of adversity and hardship. St. Augustine advises us to be meek in the face of the Lord, and be obedient to him.

  • Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

Work hard to make sure that all people are treated justly. Do what you can to change unjust conditions. A continuous desire for justice and moral perfection will lead one to a fulfillment of that desire - a transition and conversion to holiness. This is true for all the virtues - if you hunger and thirst for what is right and just, you will head towards the goal you have in mind.

  • Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Forgive others and ask their forgiveness. Let compassion, not anger, rule your life. Mercy is the loving disposition towards those who suffer distress. Love, compassion, and forgiveness towards one's neighbor will bring peace in your relationships. As we are merciful to others, so our Heavenly Father will be merciful with us! Jesus reminds us that whatever "you did to the least of my brethren, you did it to me (Matthew 25:31-46.

  • Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

To be pure of heart means to be free of all selfish intentions and self-seeking desires. How many times have any of us performed an act perfectly free of any personal gain? Such an act is pure love. An act of pure and selfless giving brings happiness to all. The pure of heart can enjoy life here on earth, because they are helping God build his kingdom of heaven.

  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Peacemakers not only live peaceful lives but also try to bring peace and friendship to others. The Lord wants you first to be yourself filled with the blessings of peace and then to communicate it to those who have need of it. By imitating God's love of man, the peacemakers become children of God.

  • Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus said many times that those who follow Him will be persecuted. Stephen, Peter and Paul, nearly all of the Apostles, and many Christians in the Roman era suffered martyrdom. The twentieth century with its wars and conflicts has seen its share of martyrs such as Maximilian Kolbe and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The Lord promised those that suffer for his sake will be rewarded with the Kingdom of Heaven!

News & Events ~ Closings & Vacations ~ Calendars ~ Our CCD Staff ~ Guidelines, Policies & Registration
 Protecting God's Children ~ Mission Statement & Curriculum ~ Our Church ~ Children's Mass
First Penance & First Communion ~ Confirmation ~ Birthdays! ~ Prayers ~ The Beatitudes ~ Sacraments ~ Who Is St. Brigid
The Rosary, Scapular and Medals ~ The Ten Commandments ~ The Apostles ~ List of Popes
Saints of the Liturgical Calendar ~ Holy Days of Obligation ~ Stations of The Cross ~ Contact Us ~ Home